LEICESTER BACK ON TOP
Crista Cullen Leicester & England
EuroCanterbury lost their lead to Leicester on Saturday in Women’s Premier Division. In a reversal of their fixture earlier in the season – in which Hayley Brown scored the only goal – Leicester earned the three points with the one Crista Cullen strike.
Cullen’s (above) penalty corner supremacy told when she netted shortly before half time to return her team to the top of the table with a one point lead. Leicester was able to hold on to the victory, in part, due to the their renowned defensive resilience, they have conceded just twelve goals in fourteen games this season and this was their fifth clean sheet. EuroCanterbury have now lost by the same score line in their last two games; they have now lost four times this season.
Slough, in third, moved within two points of EuroCanterbury following their 3-2 win over University of Birmingham. Sam Archer was on target twice for Slough during the victory after Nicola White had opened the score in the third minute.
Former Slough player Kate Walsh (above) bagged two penalty corner goals during Reading’s 3-0 win away at Clifton. It was their ninth win of the season and continued their excellent run of form which has seen them win their last seven Premier Division fixtures in a row to move up into fourth place.
Cannock moved out of the relegation play-off position thanks to a 4-2 win away at bottom of the table Brooklands Poynton. The Staffordshire side overturned a half time goal deficit to record only their third win of the season. Hollie Webb, Linda Royston and Joanna Leigh were the ones to score in the second half to seal the victory after Eleanor Watton had opened the scoring in the match in the 17th minute. Olton & WW, although level on points with Cannock, dropped into the relegation play-off place with an inferior goal difference despite earning a creditable draw with Bowdon Hightown. Sally Walton opened the scoring in the second minute for Hightown before Naomi James equalised. Next week’s fixture with Brooklands Poynton will be crucial for Olton.
Sevenoaks opened up a three point lead at the top of Women’s Conference East thanks to a 2-0 win at bottom side Dereham. Whilst the win gave them some breathing space at the top, the loss for Dereham meant that they will be, at best, involved in the relegation play-offs being unable to guarantee safety. Sitting four points behind Cambridge City they will be hoping to avoid automatic relegation. Ipswich allowed Sevenoaks to open up the lead at the top following their loss away at Chelmsford in which they failed to recover from a two goal half time deficit.
Sutton Coldfield remain top of Women’s Conference North by two points following a 3-2 win over Wakefield Bradford having been thankful to see Ellie Walmsley’s penalty stroke for Wakefield Bradford flash wide. Loughborough Students’ emphatic 5-0 win over Belper kept their chase going on the lead. At the bottom Aldridge & Walsall, Belper and Beeston all lost on Saturday with the latter going down 3-2 at Springfields UCLAN to boost the Lancashire side’s chances of avoiding the drop. On Sunday Beeston picked up a point but will have been devastated that they did not come away with a win that would have seen them move two points clear of the relegation play-off place. Beeston led from the 10th minute through Sophie Robinson and looked well placed for the victory before Heather Stafford converted a 70th minute penalty stroke for Wakefield Bradford to take a share of the points. Beeston did move up into eighth, though level on points with ninth placed Belper.
In Women’s West Conference Buckingham’s 1-0 win over Firebrands, coupled with Isca University’s 3-1 loss to Swansea, meant that Buckingham’s lead over Isca increased to four points. At the bottom Worcester were thrashed 8-1 at home by Exe, Claire Thomas scoring five; the result saw the winners move up into seventh and condemned Worcester to be named the first team this season automatically relegated from the EHL.
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photos Janos Schmidt